Think back to your school textbooks and you'll surely remember those typical pictures of mothers in kitchens and fathers in the office, however, now kids will see men and women portrayed in a new dimension, like men and women are prepping vegetables together in the kitchen, thanks to The Maharashtra State Bureau of Textbook Production and Curriculum Research, better known as Balbharati.
Educational resources must also accommodate gender equality
"We here at Balbharati give emphasis on experiments. While drafting the new textbooks, especially for the young ones, we need to see that the content in the textbooks is abreast with structures and changes in the society," said Sunil Magar, Director at Balbharati in an interview. Times have changed in India and therefore, educational resources must also change in order to accommodate gender equality, and inclusion and though this is a small step towards it, it is being regarded a ground-breaking change. Women are being shown as traffic cops, pilots and doctors meanwhile, men are shown as chefs and doing chores at home like ironing, for example. Previous editions of Balbharti never had such progressive pictures and therefore, children too thought that men and women had to follow traditional roles.
Young minds can be influenced by a series of pictures
"Many organizations, such as Population First and others have been conducting training on gender sensitization in the classroom and for those writing textbooks. Women today are not perceiving themselves as homemakers. Their contribution to the economy has got highlighted. When I visit schools, I see the perception of girls has changed," says Vibhuti Patel, chairperson, and professor of Advanced Centre. The organization has previously worked with IGNOU to make gender equality changes to their textbooks. It's amazing how young minds can be influenced by a series of pictures and sometimes it takes years to unlearn gender stereotypes and these changes will open young minds that being a certain gender cannot stop you from doing something. It will give children a wider understanding that men and women are capable of doing any job.
Image credit: Latestly